Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is much from ideal. but when you’re evaluating a device that starts at $279, the question isn’t “is that this a perfect tool?” The question is: “is that this higher than other stuff you can get for that value?”
Chromebooks in that price range are inclined to be clunky and cheap, like HP’s Chromebook 14 or Chromebook x360 12b. for those who want a Windows choice, you’re looking at the bottom end of the Acer Aspire or Acer Rapid strains or other extraordinarily naked-bones options like the Motile 14. And, in fact, there are access-degree iPads and different elementary Android pills, however the ones don’t include a keyboard.
Lenovo has definitely cut a few corners to shave the Chromebook Duet right down to that value aspect. and because I’m employed as a professional griper, gripe I shall. However at the end of the day, they really feel like cut corners — not like major missteps that considerably hamper the instrument. And after a couple of days the usage of the Duet as my primary motive force, i believe comfortable saying it feels a lot more like a Surface Go Along With a few concessions than it does an ultra-finances LAPTOP.
Our evaluation of Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Verge Rating 8.5 out of 10
Ultra portable 11-hour battery lifestyles Incorporated keyboard and kickstand you’ll’t beat the fee
Cramped keyboard and touchpad just one port (and it’s now not a headphone jack) Lacks the horsepower for critical multitasking Buy for $299.00 from Very Best Purchase
Next to the most recent iPads or upper-finish Chromebooks like the Pixelbook Move, the Duet Chromebook has vital drawbacks. However the ones devices are a step up in value (particularly while you come with the keyboard covers). should you’re in search of a convertible in the sub-$THREE HUNDRED vary that sort of has a foot in each doors, the Duet is the most efficient you will to find.
The Chromebook Duet’s base type has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of garage. the cost includes the keyboard and kickstand, which isn’t the case with the surface Cross or any iPad fashion. I examined the $299 version, which has the similar processor and RAM however 128GB of storage. Twenty bucks isn’t an enormous difference, so i recommend that you simply go for the extra garage if you’ll be able to find the money for it — 64G will replenish quickly in the event you plan on downloading loads of apps, movies, or other media.
It’s simple to modify the monitor’s attitude.
except its head-turning worth, the big thing to know about this Chromebook is that it’s small. At 10.1 inches, it’s an ordinary dimension for a pill, but if you happen to’re seeking to use it the way in which you’d use a piece laptop (with dozens of tabs and Windows facet by means of aspect, for example) issues get cramped. i was able to write this entire assessment at the Duet, however going again to the 13-inch THREE:2 screen on my pc felt like a complete new global.
The show does have a 16:10 aspect ratio, which I savor — and if you happen to’re used to using SIXTEEN:NINE panels, you’ll understand the extra vertical area. I nonetheless really feel reasonably less constricted on a 13-inch 16:NINE screen, but it surely’s close.
As a result, the detachable keyboard is also tiny. Such A Lot of the keys aren’t bad to press; they’re in fact somewhat better than the outside Move’s keys, with approximately 1.3mm shuttle. The cramped setup took a few being used to, however after an afternoon or so of the use of the tool i was in a position to hit my conventional typing pace (around ONE HUNDRED THIRTY words in line with minute).
Where Lenovo has had to compromise, then again, is at the keys on the outskirts of the deck (tab, backspace, enter, colon, apostrophe, sprint, and so forth.). Those are minuscule (just over half the scale of the letter keys) and hitting them was once a chore. Even after the usage of the software for a couple of days, i was still best appropriately tapping backspace approximately SEVENTY FIVE p.c of the time — i can’t inform you how many instances i finished up slamming the equals signal as an alternative. In A Similar Way, I very often hit input whilst I supposed to hit the adjoining apostrophe key. Hitting sprint, that is squeezed to the left of the equals key, felt like a needle-in-haystack state of affairs, and i found myself instinctively warding off the usage of dashes in my writing. I imagine you’ll get used to all this in case you buy the Duet, however expect a steep studying curve.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet specs (as reviewed)
MediaTek Helio P60T 4GB RAM 128GB garage 10.1-inch show (1920 x 1200) 7,000mAh (27Wh) battery 10W adapter Two audio system digital microphones One USB-C port
You gained’t be surprised to be told that the touchpad may be small, at 3.4 x 1.NINE inches. It feels fantastic and scrolls correctly (regardless that i have small arms). I did have some hassle clicking and dragging (I regularly resorted to doing that at the touchscreen), and -finger clicks occasionally registered as common clicks. Additionally, while the keyboard was once asymmetric in my lap, it from time to time twisted right into a place the place the clicker stopped operating (an disease you’ll be familiar with if you’ve used reasonable keyboard covers ahead of). should you choose to use the reveal, the Duet is also appropriate with USI styluses.
when you had been hoping to connect a host of peripherals in lieu of the incorporated keyboard, ensure that you’ve splitters and dongles in tow. The Duet has all of one USB-C port, as a way to be occupied each time the software is charging. it would be great to have at least an audio jack, despite the fact that Lenovo does come with a headphone dongle. (While we’re making desire lists, another USB-C port, so shall we plug in a mouse even as charging the object, would be welcome).
The Duet features a kickstand and keyboard. The monitor had really extensive glare outside.
At this worth aspect, although, I don’t see the cramped peripherals as missteps on Lenovo’s part; they’re trade-offs you’re making. In alternate, you get a device that’s relatively compact and transportable. The tablet alone is .99 pounds (449g), and with the keyboard and kickstand connected it’s only 2.03 kilos (921g).
And regardless of the corners that experience been cut with the keyboard and touchpad, no a part of the Duet appears to be like or feels affordable. The tablet itself is made from an aluminum alloy, which is sturdy and nice to hold. the quilt is manufactured from a chic gray cloth — it seems like a trendy workstation whilst closed. Both the keyboard and the kickstand reliably stayed in place even as i was using the tool. The Duet does lack the 2-part magnetic mechanism that the surface Move uses to keep both covers in place, meaning the keyboard has a tendency to slip around when the computer is closed. Again, corners.
Every Other space the place the Duet is punching above its weight elegance: battery existence. Lenovo claims 10 hours; I were given just about ELEVEN and a part, running the instrument via my standard workload of Chrome tabs and apps together with Gmail, Twitter, Slack, Asana, Fb, Doctors, and Sheets, to boot as the occasional Zoom call and Spotify streaming, with the display at medium brightness. On an afternoon the place I handiest used Chrome, I got simply over 12. (Lenovo has, on the other hand, skimped on the charger; the incorporated 10W USB-C brick handiest juiced the instrument up 24 % in an hour.)
There’s a clear (at least, partial) cause of that result: the low-finish processor. Lenovo is the usage of an octa-middle, 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio P60T. Power-sensible, it’s closer to a budget Snapdragon cellphone processor than the Intel chips you’ll to find in great Chromebooks.
With that understood, the Duet’s performance was once unusually decent. in case you’re browsing in a pair tabs, streaming Netflix, or running an app or two, you shouldn’t have an issue. i was even capable of run a regular dose of eight to twelve Chrome tabs and six to eight Android apps with out a lot hassle. Doctors and Spotify every crashed as soon as or two times, but it surely wasn’t a rampant drawback. It was once near inconceivable to get anything performed even as a Zoom name was once working (though that would be a blessing in cover for my co-staff). I also ran the Duet through an afternoon of just Chrome use, and issues began to slow down at around 15 tabs. However again, heavy multitasking isn’t what this tool is for (and the 4GB of RAM is likely as much of a restricting issue because the processor).
CONFORM TO CONTINUE: Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Each And Every smart tool now requires you to conform to a series of terms and prerequisites before you’ll use it — contracts that no person if truth be told reads. It’s impossible for us to learn and examine each one in all these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions you could have to hit “agree” to use devices when we overview them for the reason that these are agreements the general public don’t learn and certainly can’t negotiate.
to make use of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, you’ve got to comply with:
connect with Wi-Fi Chrome OS terms of provider Chrome sync (porting over historical past, bookmarks, passwords, and different settings out of your Google account) Customized Google services Google Play phrases of products and services
the next agreements are optional:
Send diagnostic and utilization knowledge to Google A Google account Back as much as Google Power Allow apps and services with area permission to make use of your instrument’s location Google Assistant voice fit Let Assistant show you information associated with what’s in your screen hook up with an Android telephone
Final tally: five mandatory agreements and seven optional ones
Speaking of Zoom, the Duet has two cameras, including a 2MP entrance shooter and an 8MP rear shooter. Both had been actually higher than the webcams I are likely to see on laptops. My face on video calls used to be transparent and not specifically washed out, and the rear digicam doesn’t take unbelievable photos but will do just wonderful in case you need to snap an image of your notes or a PowerPoint slide. the twin speakers (situated in the best bezel) introduced surprisingly neatly-balanced audio that was transparent at upper volumes. They don’t get as loud as many full-sized laptops do — that’s comprehensible given their dimension, however that’s one more reason there in point of fact should be a headphone jack on this thing.
Gaming was also an even revel in. Flipping Legend and Monster Legends every so often stuttered but have been typically pretty clean. in addition they looked sharp on the 1920 x 1200 screen.
The Duet even did an even job with photo paintings in Lightroom. Modifying, both of singular photos and batches, wasn’t prompt, nevertheless it additionally wasn’t agonizingly sluggish; the enjoy was about on par with midrange Intel-powered Chromebooks I’ve examined in the past. (The panel is a little dim for someone doing serious creative paintings; the glare was once substantial enough that the reveal was hard to see outdoors).
The letter keys are high-quality, however the outer ones are a struggle.
Transferring directly to the software: the things Chrome OS folks like approximately Chrome OS are all here. The Duet boots quickly, the interface is simple, you get automated history updates each and every six weeks, you’ve got get entry to for your favourite Android apps (together with Microsoft Office) in the course of the Google Play Retailer, and Google Assistant can solution your queries and stay you company.
The OS is easily-integrated with the rest of Google’s atmosphere, and there’s a slew of lovable ways you’ll use it with your Android telephone. The Duet helps wireless tethering, which means you’ll routinely hitch it for your telephone’s data connection without having to dink round with hotspots. you also use Android to sign in and out of the Chromebook remotely, as long because it’s local. And you’ll be able to use Click On-to-Call to send contact numbers from the Duet on your phone.
the usual Chrome OS caveats additionally apply; Android apps are hit-or-omit, with a few being neatly-optimized for Chromebook, a few being k but worse than their browser equivalents, and some (hi, Fb Messenger) being absolute disasters. It’s still much tougher to sideload apps than it is on Android. while you’ve gotten the hang of what apps you can properly use and what you would like to stay in Chrome, you need to be capable of navigate the operating system just nice. However should you’re new to Chromebooks, there’s a learning curve.
the usual Chrome OS caveats observe
The enjoyable factor this is that Google has additionally made a few tweaks to Chrome OS to optimize it for the convertible form issue. Google says the Duet is the primary software ever to launch with a model of Chrome that’s actually optimized for tablet use. (RIP Pixel Slate). There are 3 “modes”: Type Mode (when the keyboard is connected), Watch Mode (when the kickstand is open and the keyboard is indifferent), and read Mode (when it’s just a tablet). (Watch Mode and skim Mode are essentially the similar, as far as i will tell).
Browse Mode’s headline feature is a brand new gesture-navigation device. an extended swipe up sends you to the house reveal, a short swipe up summons the app shelf, swiping up and conserving displays all of your open app windows. Swipe up, cling, and drag a window to one facet to split the show; swipe right to go back to a prior display. I wouldn’t say those gestures were essentially fluid — a minimum of, not in comparison to what you’ll see on an iPad. But they’re the start of a device i can see becoming slightly polished in the long term, they usually did make surfing in pill mode a little easier.
Not Anything about the Chromebook Duet is ideal; i’ll nitpick all day approximately various suboptimal features of the keyboard, touchpad, efficiency, or display. however the Duet isn’t trying to be highest. It’s not for energy customers, and it’s no longer meant to deal with heavy multitasking.
With that during mind, that is the closest to perfection that I’ve ever observed from a $THREE HUNDRED pc-reduce-pill. in the event you’re in search of a amusing device for children that may additionally maintain homeschooling work, or a portable 2-in-1 for watching Netflix and sending emails on the go, the Duet should do exactly effective. It’s an exceptional midrange 2-in-1 Chromebook that has no industry being as cheap as it is.